- Nathan Yoder
Album of the Week - Gia Margaret - Mia Gargaret
Chicago-based singer/songwriter Gia Margaret's second album is a sonic departure from her first, and strangely, this unexpected shift was borne out of necessity. There's Always Glimmer, released in 2018, is an album of lush, vocal-driven folk. But an intense bout of laryngitis rendered Margaret unable to sing for an extended period of time, leading her to create a largely instrumental, ambient sophomore release. Perhaps this unplanned adaptation explains the zany album title - a laugh when it's all you can do.
Though she traded her acoustic guitar for a synth, characteristics from There's Always Glimmer carry over to Mia Gargaret. The songs here are both soft and warm. Listening to them feels like floating suspended in an early morning moment - in bed weighed down by blankets, stretching and blinking at the sun peeking through a window. In some moments, the patchwork of "found sound" echos The Books, but other piano-centric parts of the album evoke Grouper. A stretch of music beginning with "no sleep no dream" and running through "ash" is especially beautiful, and a reminder that Margaret composed these songs to self-soothe during a painful time in her life. On the closing track, Lesson, Margaret's vocals reemerge for a brief moment, indicating that she's on the mend.